Jesus’ Life and Ministry
God’s Voice Heard a Third Time
WHILE at the temple, Jesus has been agonizing over the death that he soon must face. His main concern is how his Father’s reputation will be affected, so he prays: “Father, glorify your name.”
At that, a mighty voice comes from the heavens, proclaiming: “I both glorified it and will glorify it again.”
The crowd standing around are bewildered. “An angel has spoken to him,” some begin to say. Others claim that it thundered. But, indeed, it is Jehovah God who spoke! This, however, is not the first time God’s voice was heard in connection with Jesus.
At Jesus’ baptism, three and a half years earlier, John the Baptizer heard God say of Jesus: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.” Then, sometime after the previous Passover, when Jesus was transfigured before them, James, John, and Peter heard God declare: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved; listen to him.” And now, for the third time, on Nisan 10, four days before Jesus’ death, God’s voice is again heard by men. But this time Jehovah speaks so that multitudes can hear!
Jesus explains: “This voice has occurred, not for my sake, but for your sakes.” It provides proof that Jesus is indeed God’s Son, the promised Messiah. “Now there is a judging of this world,” Jesus continues, “now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” Jesus’ faithful life course, in effect, confirms that Satan the Devil, the ruler of the world, deserves to be “cast out,” executed.
Pointing to the consequences of his approaching death, Jesus says: “And yet I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw men of all sorts to me.” His death is in no way a defeat, for by means of it, he will draw others to himself so that they may enjoy everlasting life.
But the crowd protests: “We heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever; and how is it you say that the Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?”
Despite all the evidence, including hearing God’s own voice, most do not believe that Jesus is the true Son of man, the promised Messiah. Yet, as he did six months earlier at the Festival of Tabernacles, Jesus again speaks of himself as “the light” and encourages his listeners: “While you have the light, exercise faith in the light, in order to become sons of light.” After saying these things, Jesus goes off and hides, evidently because his life was in danger.
The Jews’ lack of faith in Jesus fulfills the words of Isaiah about the ‘eyes of people being blinded and their hearts being hardened so that they do not turn around to be healed.’ Isaiah saw in vision the heavenly courts of Jehovah, including Jesus in his prehuman glory along with Jehovah. Yet, the Jews, in fulfillment of what Isaiah wrote, stubbornly reject the evidence that this One is their promised Deliverer.
On the other hand, many even of the rulers (evidently members of the Jewish high court, the Sanhedrin) actually put faith in Jesus. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea are two of these rulers. But the rulers, at least for the present, fail to declare their faith, for fear of being expelled from their positions in the synagogue. How much such ones miss out on!
Jesus goes on to note: “He that puts faith in me puts faith, not in me only, but in him also that sent me; and he that beholds me beholds also him that sent me. . . . But if anyone hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I came, not to judge the world, but to save the world. . . . The word that I have spoken is what will judge him in the last day.”
Jehovah’s love for the world of mankind moved him to send Jesus so that those who put faith in him might be saved. Whether people are saved will be determined by whether they obey the things God instructed Jesus to speak. The judgment will take place “in the last day,” during Christ’s Thousand Year Reign.
Jesus concludes by saying: “I have not spoken out of my own impulse, but the Father himself who sent me has given me a commandment as to what to tell and what to speak. Also, I know that his commandment means everlasting life. Therefore the things I speak, just as the Father has told me them, so I speak them.” John 12:28-50; 19:38, 39; Matthew 3:17; 17:5; Isaiah 6:1, 8-10.
◆ On what three occasions was God’s voice heard with regard to Jesus?
◆ How did the prophet Isaiah see Jesus’ glory?
◆ Who are the rulers that put faith in Jesus, but why do they not confess him?
◆ What is “the last day,” and by what means will people be judged then?